Proper names in patients with early Alzheimer's disease

C. Semenza, Sara Mondini, F. Borgo, M. Pasini, T. Sgaramella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of this study was to seek evidence of the particular sensitivity of proper name retrieval and to check the usefulness of proper names as diagnostic material in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Whether a generalized naming deficit is an early symptom of AD it is not yet clear. Previous studies suggest that proper names might be the category of names that is indeed more sensitive to AD. Seventy AD patients (subdivided into "very mild", "mild" and "moderate") and 47 control subjects participated in the study. The performances in two short distinct tests requiring proper name retrieval (Naming People on Definition and Naming Faces), one test of common name retrieval, short (MMSE, SMS) and long (MODA) batteries for the detection of dementia were compared. Proper name retrieval tests were shown to be more sensitive to early AD than any other tests and batteries that failed to distinguish "very mild" AD from controls. These findings suggest that proper name retrieval tasks might be profitably included in diagnostic tools for the early diagnosis of AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-69
Number of pages7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • Alzheimer patients
  • Early diagnosis
  • Proper names

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Psychology(all)


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